The urgency in Sandie’s voice surprised me. She hardly took a breath before blurting out, “I desperately need your advice. Can you come over now?” Sandie was a bubbly, full-of-fun, bright woman who loved people. As I approached her home, she was already waiting at the front door. She greeted me with an enthusiastic bear hug and ushered me into her oversized family room filled with comfortable furnishings, colorful pictures, and shelves spilling over with all sorts of knickknacks. Sandie began to share her heart.
That evening at her small group Sandie was to speak about her prayer life. In previous weeks, she had listened to others express a rich spiritual journey filled with set times for daily devotions, meditation, a quiet time, and prayer. A few described how they journaled their prayers in notebooks which they occasionally shared with their families. Others successfully read through the entire Bible in one year. Sandie sighed deeply, “My prayer life doesn’t look anything like that. I’m afraid they will think my spiritual walk is shallow and too simplistic. I feel so inadequate compared to them.”
Sandie’s concern about her prayer life reveals her personality type – Popular Sanguine. She loves to pray and talk to the Lord all day long, whether she is out walking, driving, cooking, or just nestling in her favorite armchair with her well-worn gold pillow. She truly “prays continually” as scripture instructs us to do (1 Thessalonians 5:17). When Sandie tries to schedule specific times with the Lord, she often forgets and then gets discouraged. She knows she can talk to Him anywhere at any time, and He will be there with her. Sometimes her conversations with Him are short and other times they are lengthy. Often she senses His presence as she worships and praises Him for who He is to her. She feels close to God in her own free, childlike way.
Sandie enjoys her way of dialoguing with the Lord, but she wants to grow deeper spiritually, especially in reading her Bible more consistently and focusing her quiet time on listening and hearing His voice. She knows she needs to practice Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.” I suggested she consider a devotional-type Bible which doesn’t require her to keep a schedule. Also, she may want to join an informal study group which doesn’t demand much homework, but would provide accountability in her study of God’s Word.
My best advice to Sandie is to enjoy who God designed her to be, even in her prayer life. Although she would gain from a bit more self-discipline and focus, her personality type does not thrive on a strict routine of study and prayer. Indeed, her lighter, free-spirited approach to dialoguing with God would be a refreshing change for many of us. Oswald Chambers said: “Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes.”
Recently, an excited Sandie shared: “I’ve been spending more time listening to God and am even willing to hear His gentle corrections now. He hugs me a lot in our time together and tells me He loves my childlike spirit. My new study group is helping me find joy in studying His Word, and they are fun to be with. Now I want to share with others the joy of who He is to me and who I am to Him.”
Come join me next time as we look at how another personality type prays.